Use caution when giving to charity this season

PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) – Attorney General Marty Jackley is asking South Dakotans to beware
of those potentially exploiting victims of the Copper Lounge collapse in Sioux Falls.

“South Dakotans are by nature very generous and quick to help those in need. We just ask those who want to give to take some simple precautions to ensure their assistance is being received in the most beneficial way,” said Jackley.

Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organization as well as its nonprofit status. Visit such sites as www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.
- Ask specifically how this donation will be used.
- Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fund raising costs.
- Beware of charitable organizations that use sound alike names of reputable organizations.
- Donors should not respond to any unsolicited emails, but rather go directly to recognized charities or aid organizations.
- Do not pay cash. For security reasons write a check.
- If you want additional information about the charity ask that they send it to you in writing. Any legitimate organization will be more than happy to provide this information to verify their legitimacy.

These tips apply not only to local tragedies, but for those disaster victims of national and world disasters.

For more information about charitable giving, contact the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or www.state.sd.us/attorney.